No. 6251, ‘A’ Company, 13th Battalion, Royal Irish Rifles
Killed in action on Saturday 1 July 1916 (aged 19)
No known grave
Commonwealth War Graves Commission
Bangor and District War Memorial
Ballygrainey Presbyterian Church
Robert Alexander was born on 10 August 1896 in the townland of Ballygrainey, Donaghadee and he was the eldest son of James and Isabella (Bella) Alexander (nee Boal) who were married on 22 May 1896 in Second Newtownards Presbyterian Church. James Alexander from Cottown was a son of Andrew Alexander, a farmer. Isabella Boal from Cottown was a daughter of Robert Boal, a labourer.
The Alexander family lived in the townland of Cottown, Donaghadee.
James Alexander was an agricultural labourer and he and Isabella had at least nine children:
Robert (born 10 August 1896 in Ballygrainey)
William (born 26 February 1898 in Cottown)
Mary (born 7 April 1900 in Cottown)
Rose (born 2 April 1902 in Cottown)
Andrew (born 16 December 1904 in Cottown)
Margaret (Maggie, born 18 September 1907 in Cottown)
Jane (born 13 May 1910 in Cottown)
Isabella (born 29 May 1913 in Cottown; died of gastro-enteritis 10 December 1915)
John (born 20 June 1915 in Cottown)
Like his father James, Robert Alexander worked as an agricultural labourer prior to the outbreak of the First World War.
Robert Alexander served with the 13th Battalion Royal Irish Rifles in 108th Brigade of the 36th (Ulster) Division and he was 19 when he was killed in action on the first day of the Battle of the Somme. Initially he was posted as missing in action and in April 1917 it was officially confirmed that he must be presumed to have died.
Lance Corporal Robert Alexander has no known grave.
Robert Alexander had made a will and his property and effects were received by his mother Isabella.
Robert’s father, mother, sisters and brothers placed an Our Heroes – In Memoriam notice in the 30 June 1917 edition of the Newtownards Chronicle and it contained the verse:
No mother’s care did him attend,
Nor o’er him did a father bend,
No sister by to shed a tear
No brother by his words to hear
Lance Corporal Robert Alexander is commemorated on the Thiepval Memorial in Fance (Addenda Panel); on Bangor and District War Memorial and in Ballygrainey Presbyterian Church.